Screenwriter Emma Thompson (Sense and Sensibility) delivers a workmanlike take on this well-known tale of a 19th century marital failure.
Dakota Fanning (Twilight) takes the lead as Ruskin’s teenage bride, her perfect mellifluous English accent nailed, but her lines recited in a composed monotone and the flawless face unmarred by any real expression.
Greg Wise (Johnny English, Walking on Sunshine) , David Suchet (Poirot, Executive Decision) and Julie Walters (Harry Potter) are a fine and creepy trio as the ascetic mummy’s boy with a little girl fixation and his chilly obsessed parents, ruling their world of candlelit Victorian murk.
Thompson herself is the liveliest note, her ‘concerned head girl’ chatty style suiting the role of supportive confidante Lady Eastlake.
It’s a pleasant enough two hours, with most of the dramatic effect handled by the frocks and the gloom of autumnal Scotland. PH
Effie Gray (2014)
Director: Richard Laxton
Writer: Emma Thompson
Running time: 1 hr. 48 min.
Cast: Dakota Fanning, Greg Wise, Tom Sturridge, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Claudia Cardinale, James Fox, Robbie Coltrane, Derek Jacobi